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How now, master Brook? Master Brook, the matter will be known to-night, or never.
Be the Park about midnight, at Herne's oak, and you shall see wonders.
Ford. Went you not to her yesterday, fir, as you told me you had appointed ?
Fal. I went to her, master Brook, as you see, like a poor old man: but I came from her, mafter Brook, like a poor old woman. That same knaye, Ford her husband, hath the finest mad devil of jealousy in him, master Brook, that ever governd frenzy. I will tell you.—He beat me grievously, in the shape of a woman; for in the shape of man, master Brook, I fear not Goliath with a weaver's beam; because I know also, life is a shuttle. * I am in haste; go along with me; I'll tell you all, mafter Brook. Since I plucked geese,' played truant, and whipped top, I knew not what it was to be beaten, till lately. Follow me: I'll tell you strange things of this knave Ford; on whom to-night I will be revenged, and I will deliver his wife into your hand.–Follow: Strange things in hand, master Brook! follow.
4 - because I know also, life is a shuttle.] An allusion to the fixth verse of the seventh chapter of the Book of Job: “My days are fwifter than a weaver's fhurtle,” &c. Steevens. 5
Since I plucked geese,] To ftrip a living goose of his feathers, was formerly an act of puerile barbarity. STEEVENS.
Enter Page, SHALLOW, and SLENDER.
PAGE. Come, come; we'll couch i' the castleditch, till we see the light of our fairies.-Remember, son Slender, my daughter.
Slen. Ay, forfooth; I have spoke with her, and we have a nay-word, how to know one another. I come to her in white, and cry, mum; she cries, budget ;8 and by that we know one another.
Shal. That's good too: But what needs either your mum, or her budget? the white will decipher her well enough. It hath struck ten o'clock.
Page. The night is dark; light and spirits will become it well. Heaven prosper our sport! No man means evil but the devil, and we shall know him by his horns. Let's away; follow me. [Exeunt.
6 - my daughter.] The word daughter was inadvertently omitted in the first folio. The emendation was made by the editor of the second. MALONE.
7-a nay-word,) i. e. a watch-word. Mrs. Quickly has already used it in this sense. STEEVENS.
- mum ; she cries, budget ;] These words appear to have been in common use before the time of our author. " And now if a man call them to accomptes, and aike the cause of al these their tragical and cruel doings, he shall have a short answer with mum budget, except they will peradventure allege this," &c. Oration against the unlawful insurreciions of the Proteftants, bl. 1. 8vo. 1615, Sign. C 8. Reed.
9 No man means evil but the devil,] This is a double blunder ; for some, of whom this was fpoke, were women. We should read then, NO ONE means. WARBURTON.
S CE N E III.
The Street in Windsor.
Enter Mrs. Page, Mrs. FORD, and Dr. CAIUS.
Mrs. Page. Master doctor, my daughter is in green: when you see your time, take her by the hand, away with her to the deanery, and despatch it quickly: Go before into the park; we two must go together.
Caius. I know vat I have to do; Adieu. Mrs. Page. Fare you well, fir. [Exit Caius.] My husband will not rejoice so much at the abuse of Falstaff, as he will chafe at the doctor's marrying my daughter: but 'tis no matter ; better a little chiding, than a great deal of heart-break.
Mrs. FORD. Where is Nan now, and her troop of fairies? and the Welch devil, Hugh ? :
There is no blunder. In the ancient interludes and moralities, the beings of supreme power, excellence, or depravity, are occafionally styled men. So, in Much ado about Nothing, Dogberry says: “ God's a good man.
Again, in an Epitaph, part of which has been borrowed as an absurd one, by Mr. Pope and his associates, who were not very well acquainted with ancient phraseology:
" Do all we can,
“ That never spareth none." Again, in Jeronimo, or The Firft Part of the Spanish Tragedy, 1605: “ You're the last man I thought on, save the devil.”
STEEVENS. 3 - and the Welch devil, Hugh ?] 'The former impreffions readthe Welch devil Herne? But Falitaff was to represent Herne, and he was no Welchman. Where was the attention or fagacity of our editors, not to observe that Mrs. Ford is enquiring for [Sir Hugb] Evans by the name of the Welch devil ? Dr. Thirlby likewise discover'd the blunder of this passage. THEOBALD.
Mrs. Page. They are all couched in a pit hard by Herne’s oak,“ with obscured lights; which, at the very instant of Falstaff's and our meeting, they will at once display to the night.
Mrs. Ford. That cannot choose but amaze him.
Mrs. PAGE. If he be not amazed, he will be mockd; if he be amazed, he will every way be mock’d.
Mrs. Ford. We'll betray him finely.
Mrs. Ford. The hour draws on; To the oak, to the oak!
Enter Sir Hugh EVANS, and Fairies.
Eva. Trib, trib, fairies; come; and remember your parts: be pold, I pray you; follow me into the pit; and when I give the watch-'ords, do as I pid you; Come, come; trib, trib. [Exeunt.
I suppose only the letter H. was set down in the MS; and therefore, instead of Hugh (which seems to be the true reading, the editors substituted Herne. STEEVENS. So, afterwards : “ Well said, fairy Hugh.” Malone.
in a pit hard by Herne's oak,] An oak, which may be that alluded to by Shakspeare, is still standing close to a pit in Windsor forest. It is yet shown as the oak of Herne. STEEVENS.
Another part of the Park.
Enter Falstaff disguised, with a buck's bead on.
Fal. The Windsor bell hath ftruck twelve; the minute draws on: Now, the hot-blooded gods affift me!-Remember, Jove, thou wast a bull for thy Europa ; love set on thy horns.–O powerful love! that, in some respects, makes a beast a man; in some other, a man a beast. — You were also, Jupiter, a swan, for the love of Leda ;-0, omnipotent love! how near the god drew to the complexion of a goose?-A fault done first in the form of a beast ;O Jove, a beastly fault! and then another fault in the semblance of a fowl; think on't, Jove; a foul fault.-When gods have hot backs, what shall poor men do?s For me, I am here a Windsor stag; and the fattest, I think, i' the forest : Send me a cool rut-time, Jove, or who can blame me to piss my tallow? Who comes here?
When gods have hot backs, what shall poor men do?] Shakfpeare had perhaps in his thoughts the argument which Cherea employed in a similar fituation. Ter. Eun. A& III. sc. v:
Quia confimilem luserat " Jam olim ille ludum, impendio magis animus gaudebat mihi « Deum fefe in hominem convertisse, atque per alienas tegulas “ Venisse clanculum per impluvium, fucum factum mulieri. “ At quem deum ? qui templa cæli summa funitu concutit. Ego homuncio hoc non facerem ? Ego vero illud ita feci, ac
lubens.” A translation of Terence was published in 1598.
The same thought is found in Lily's Eupbues, 1580: “ I think in those days love was well ratified on earth, when luft was so full authorized by the gods in heaven.” MALONE. 6
Send me a cool rut-time, Jove, or who can blame me to piss my tallow?] This, I find, is technical. In Turberville's Booke of Hunting, 1575: “ During the time of their rut, the harts live